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Funny and Brutal

Movies: ‘The Death of Stalin’

Power in Joseph Stalin’s U.S.S.R. empire was based on his whims and the loyalty of his cabinet, men terrified of being purged without warning. Toadies all, they crawled and slithered around him, ready to do his bidding and enforce the terror of his rule. They certainly did not want to join the millions of people who had already died by his order.

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Bold and Beautiful

Movies: ‘A Fantastic Woman’

‘A Fantastic Woman,” winner of this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar, is a bold and quite moving film from Chilean director Sebastian Leilo (“Gloria.”) The movie stars a very beautiful and talented Daniela Vega, who was born David.

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Regrets Only For This Party

Movies: ‘The Party’

‘The Party,” writer/director Sally Potter’s latest movie, is basically a filmed play that aspires to mix farce and satire with a soupçon of tragedy. Shot in lustrous black and white, it is both arid and unforgiving of its characters. Its 71 minutes are more than enough for a splendid cast to fire volley after volley of cheap shots, many so flat-footed that you may long for the wit and brilliance of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s script for “All About Eve.”

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Movies for 32 Cents – What’s The Catch?

Movies

By now, most of us have heard of MoviePass. You pay $10, and MoviePass sends you a debit card. You pick a movie you want to see, the company charges up the card with whatever the ticket price is, and you use the card to buy the ticket.
For your $10 per month, you can see one movie per day. Every day. In months with 31 days, that works out to 32¢ per movie.
The question most of us have is, “”Where does the money come from?”

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What’s a Sexy Movie Without Good Sex?

Movie: ‘50 Shades Freed’

Our long national nightmare is over. I refer to the release of “50 Shades Freed,” which, we are told, is the last installment of  the “50 Shades” films telling the story of the two most boring people who ever deployed a nipple clamp.
Bulletin: Ms. Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, looks very nice with her shirt off. And a good thing, too, because it seems that fully one hour of this almost two-hour movie is devoted to this topic.
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey also spends a lot of time with his shirt off, if that helps.

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Marvel Comics, All Grown Up

Movie: ‘Black Panther’

I know you would rather sit on exposed nails than see a Marvel comic-book movie. But the 18th in this series since 2008 is different: Gorgeous to look at, exciting in its live action, “Black Panther” seems just right for our time.

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National Lampoon: A Sad Movie About a Funny Guy

Movies: ‘A Futile and Stupid Gesture’

I remember when the edict came down.
I was working at the Crown Books store in McLean, Va. In 1978, I was 16, old enough to work but not old enough to unpack certain magazines and put them on the very top rear of the rack, with pieces of brown board to obscure all but the titles of fine periodicals such as Hustler, Penthouse and Swank.
And National Lampoon.
Because, as “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” keeps reminding us, the NatLamp had [insert common slang term for breasts].

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This Bunny Is Not Just For Kids

Movies: ‘Peter Rabbit’

As rabbits go, Peter must be considered the “Methuselah” of the species. Born in 1902 on the pages of “The Tales of Peter Rabbit” by prolific author/illustrator Beatrix Potter, Peter has survived generations of short attention span readers, tsunamis of technology and competition from stories that feature superheroes, interplanetary flight and nuclear explosions. He hops on, starring in ‘Peter Rabbit,’ a film now in wide release.

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Tonya Harding Skating on Thin Ice

Movies: ‘I, Tonya’

‘I, Tonya” is a muddled film about Tonya Harding, the first American woman to land a difficult triple axel jump and for a few years a consistent medal winner in national and international figure skating competitions, who was disgraced for lying about a poorly planned and ridiculously carried out attack on the leg of her main American rival, Nancy Kerrigan, in 1994.

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‘Elevator Pitch’ For The Moviehouse

No, they’re not grumpy unknowns appearing on the Millerton Moviehouse screens before every feature presentation. Macey Levin and Richard Boyle, both delightful residents of Salisbury and movie lovers of a “certain” age, are starring in an “Elevator Pitch,” scripted and designed by theater co-owner Robert Sadlon to help raise money for an elevator between the theater’s first and second floors.

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